A Scottish ski-range employee denied charges of endangering people’s lives yesterday.

Kevin Byrne, an employee of the Nevis Range Development Company,  pleaded not guilty to the charge, and to causing severe injury and permanent disfigurement and to contravening the Health and Safety Act. The charges follow an incident in July 2006 in which a cable-car gondola fell 8m (25ft) to the ground.

The company is also accused of breaching health-and-safety law and causing serious injury and permanent disfigurement. It entered no plea at the hearing at Fort William Sheriff Court.

The next hearing – an intermediate diet – was set for 20 March. The full trial is due on 2 May.

The charges relate to an incident in which the gondola system was restarted after an emergency stop.

A young girl suffered a broken leg when the cable car plunged to the ground. Her parents also sustained injuries. A man from Devon and his son also had minor injuries when their car hit the other gondola.

The cable-car system is used by skiers and mountaineers accessing the slopes and gullies of 1,221m (4,006ft) Aonach Mòr in Lochaber. The top station of the gondola is at 655m (2,150ft). Its Dopplemayr system uses 80 six-seater cars on a continuous 4.6km cable, running on 18 pylons, two masts and two drive stations.